Speaking as Zeke
“Do you think that I like to see wicked people die?” says the Sovereign Lord. “Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.” — Ezekiel 18:23 (NLT)
My Hebrew name is Ezekiel. And by sheer coincidence, I was smack-dab in the middle of reading the Book of Ezekiel on November 8th, a day which will, I have no doubt, live in infamy. I was born Jewish. I now identify as Christian. The church I attend — and work for — is nominally evangelical, although I prefer the term “post-evangelical,” which, at the risk of splitting hairs, is a more accurate descriptor of our particular congregation.
I went to sleep on the 8th once I could see which way the wind was blowing. But I was still struck by a sinking feeling when I woke up on the 9th and all of my worst fears were confirmed. My first thought was: “How can I possibly continue to align myself with evangelicalism, a movement which has, by and large, thrown its full support behind a candidate who, at best, can be described as an ignorant and inept buffoon, and at worst a crass and knowing monster?” It was hard to go into work that morning. Not because my church is a bastion of Trump supporters. It’s not. And while the leadership of my church does an exemplary job of remaining apolitical, there was a palpable undercurrent of disapproval among many (although hardly all) of its members when it came to the philosophy espoused by Trump and his coalition, a coalition not of intolerables, but of intolerants. Nonetheless, the world at large is not likely to examine this, that, or the other church closely enough to uncover those nuances which might distinguish the one from the many. The general view is that evangelicals are pro-Trump and I, Jewish by birth, Christian by choice, am therefore stained by that broad brush.
I understand that many of the people who voted for Trump are not racists, not misogynists, not antisemites, not white supremacists. And I realize that many of them voted for him due to one, or both, of two basic reasons: the state of our economy, and the future of the Supreme Court. Setting aside, for the moment, the fact that the state of the economy has been regularly described in hyperbolic terms by the political right, and that the current administration inherited a crippled economy, riddled with crippling policies; and the fact that concern over the future of the Supreme Court is, really, thinly-veiled concern over only two issues — abortion rights and gun control; still, and despite heartfelt convictions with regard to these issue (be they steeped in ignorance or not), those who voted for Trump held their noses and gave explicit approval to every intolerant hate group which our country, inexplicably, continues to harbor. By voting for Trump, they have not by any means pledged active allegiance to white supremacists, but they have accepted, and thereby legitimized, white supremacy by failing to reject it. In short, they have turned a glaringly blind eye. I have heard very little criticism of the neo-Nazis and the KKK from the pro-Trump camp (far from it! — Trump is appointing every manner of bigot to his team!), and we have seen a very clear, undeniable increase in the number of hate crimes being committed since the election. My own elementary school, where I attended 6th grade, has had swastikas painted on it. So you can understand how I might feel a little threatened these days.
All of this should carry with it grave considerations for anyone who identifies as a “follower of Christ.” It is my contention that Donald Trump, while not The Anti-Christ, is an anti-Christ figure by every meaningful measure. His behavior, his statements, his lifestyle, his political philosophy, his business practices, his values, his goals and ambitions, are, without exception, antithetical to every teaching of Jesus Christ as found in The New Testament. It is, further, my contention that anyone who held their nose and voted for Donald Trump for the reasons noted above has betrayed their Savior no less than Judas himself, and wears the label “Christian” in name only. If this seems harshly uncompromising, it is. It was the lack of such uncompromising harshness that enabled the ascendency of Adolph Hitler in the 1930s. And I write these things because not only do I bear the name of Ezekiel, but I appear to have been burdened with what is popularly termed, within the Christian community, “the gift of prophecy.” This is not some sort of spooky mumbo-jumbo that involves seeing into the future; it is not foretelling, but “forth-telling,” an irresistible compulsion to express the truth when it appears to me as self-evident and wholly undeniable. It is the irresistible compulsion to tell the Emperor that he is parading around in his birthday suit.
Getting back to The Book of Ezekiel, and the Old Testament prophets in general, it should be noted that they all spoke of “a remnant.” What they meant was this: The nation of Israel had rejected the one true God and had entered into the worship of idols. As a result, they were to be exiled to Babylon. However, there were some Israelites who did remain faithful, and it was on this account — as a result of this faithful remnant — that God promised to deliver them from bondage and restore them to their homeland in the fullness of time. Evangelical Christianity is at an identical point in its history. The vast majority have empowered an anti-Christ figure, and I have absolutely no doubt that he, his cronies, and his supporters will unleash a movement of terror, persecution, and bloodshed in our streets the likes of which the world has not seen since the 1930s. But a remnant of true Christians remains within the evangelical movement, and it will be up to them to remain faithful to the unadulterated, undistorted teachings of Christ in order to speak out against the injustices which are sure to come.
It is said in the Bible that the way to distinguish true prophecy from false prophecy is whether or not the prophecy comes to pass. I here set forth my beliefs. Let time be my judge.